Dear Old South Church,
I write to share with you some very poignant news: the Rev. Elinor Lockwood Yeo, our dear friend, beloved partner (for 62 years) of the Rev Dick Yeo, long-time member of Old South and social justice leader for several generations in our community and in the wider church, died early Tuesday morning.
Though it was only a few weeks ago that she was here in church, fully and inimitably engaged in all things Old South, Elinor had been in more fragile health for the past several weeks, and died peacefully at Newton-Wellesley Hospital where she has received such excellent care. Dick's and Elinor's partnership is indigenous both to Boston and to ministry: they met during their service in the chaplaincy at Boston University and were married in 1960; and Elinor was ordained in 1970. Elinor was known widely and respected deeply for her prophetic passion and her pastoral gifts. Her decades of faithful service - first as a chaplain in higher education, then as an advocate for reproductive health and reproductive rights, and finally as Chaplain to our own Festival Choir - earned her the love and admiration of every circle she was part of. You can read and be inspired by the story of Elinor's life and work here.
Our colleague Mitchell Crawford writes that "her cheerful bearing and generosity of spirit (even while struggling mightily against illness) was and will remain an inspiration to all." Willie Sordillo marked her passing as "a great loss for us, even as it is a boon to the other angels, who I'm sure have welcomed her with open arms, long recognizing her as one of their own." Our hearts go out to Elinor's and Dick's sons Jonathan, Peter and Matthew to their spouses Gail Yeo, Anne Urban and Karen Spangler, and their grandchildren Nathan, Benjamin, Jasper, Simon, William, and Ellie.
Plans for a service of thanksgiving for Elinor's long life of courageous service will be announced soon. In the meantime, any who are moved to contribute to a tangible memorial in honor of Elinor can direct gifts to the Elinor Lockwood Yeo Fund for Festival Music, in care of Old South Church.
Interim Senior Minister